When To Use Saddle Soap (And When Not To!)

When To Use Saddle Soap

When it comes to taking care of your leather goods, saddle soap is a must-have. But when do you actually need to use it? In this comprehensive guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about saddle soap and when to use it for optimal results. Keep reading for more information!

1. When The Leather Is Stained

One of the first instances where you’ll want to use saddle soap is when the leather becomes stained. If you’ve got a tough stain that won’t come out with regular cleaning, saddle soap can often do the trick.

There are various stains types of stains that you can use saddle soap to clean, including water stains, grease or oil stains, mud stains, blood stains, and more.

If you’re not sure how to use saddle soap on a particular stain, it’s always best to read the instructions on the packaging before proceeding.

2. When The Leather Has Dirt, Dust, or Grime

I do not mean to sound captain obvious here, but another time you’ll want to use saddle soap is when the leather has dirt, dust, grime, or any other type of buildup on it.

This is especially common with leather that’s used frequently or if it’s been stored away for a long period of time without being cleaned. In these cases, a good deep cleaning with saddle soap is necessary to remove all the built-up dirt and grime.

Once again, be sure to read the instructions on the packaging before proceeding with cleaning. You’ll also want to take extra care when cleaning leather that’s been stored away for a long time, as it may be more delicate than you think.

3. When The Leather Has Smells or Odor

With time your leather goods will start to develop their own unique smell. While some people don’t mind this, others may find it unpleasant. If you fall into the latter category, saddle soap can be used to help eliminate any unwanted smells or odors.

This is especially helpful for leather goods such as car seats, sofas, and jackets, to mention a few. This is because a lot of these leather items are used frequently and are more prone to developing smells and odors.

Saddle soap can also be used to prevent odors from developing in the first place. If you regularly use saddle soap on your leather goods, they’ll be less likely to develop any unwanted smells over time.

4. When You Want to Prevent Damage

Another important instance when you can use saddle soap is when you want to prevent damage from happening in the first place.

Saddle soap can be used as a form of leather conditioning, which helps to keep the leather supple and soft. Some leather conditioners contain nourishing oils and waxes that help to replenish the natural oils in the leather.

This is important because it helps to keep the leather from drying out, cracking, and becoming brittle. In other words, saddle soap can help to extend the life of your leather goods.

Additionally, saddle soap can also help to protect the leather from water damage, UV damage, and other types of wear and tear.

5. When You Want to Restore An Old Damaged Leather

One of the most common ingredients in the arsenal of a professional leather restorer is saddle soap.

This is because saddle soap can be used to clean the leather, condition it, and also help to protect it from further damage.

If you have an old piece of leather furniture that’s seen better days, saddle soap may be able to help restore it to its former glory.

Of course, it’s always best to consult with a professional before proceeding. But if you’re feeling up for the challenge, saddle soap may be just what you need to get your old leather furniture looking new again.

When Not To Use Saddle Soap On Leather

As you can see from the above, there are a lot of instances when to use saddle soap on leather. However, there are also a few instances where saddle soap should not be used. These include:

  • When You Have Mold On Leather

One of the few instances where saddle soap is not necessary is when your leather has mold on it.

This is because saddle soap will not kill the mold spores and can actually make the problem worse. When you use saddle soap on leather that has mold or mildew, the moisture from using saddle soap will give the mold or mildew a foothold to spread or develop again much quicker.

Generally, the best way to deal with mold will not be using saddle soap but instead using a product that’s specifically designed to kill mold and mildew.

You can find these products at most hardware stores or online. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid causing any further damage to your leather goods.

  • When You Have Cracks And Peels On Leather

Another instance where you should not use saddle soap is when your leather has cracks or peels.

This is because the saddle soap and moisture will seep deep into the leather causing it to dry and peel even more. If you have cracks or peels on your leather, it’s best to fix it first or consult with a professional before using any type of cleaning product, including saddle soap.

A professional will be able to assess the damage and determine the best way to clean and repair your leather goods without causing any further damage.

  • When You Have Suede Leather

If you’re familiar with leather, you know that there are different types. One of these types is suede leather.

Suede leather is made from the innermost layer of the hide and is much more delicate than other types of leather.

This means that it’s more susceptible to damage and should be treated with care. Using saddle soap on suede leather can cause the leather to become dry and brittle.

It can also cause the suede to lose its nap (the velvety surface of the leather). If you have any suede leather goods, it’s best to get suede sprays or cleaners that are purposely made for cleaning suede.

This will help to ensure that you don’t damage your suede leather goods and ruin their appearance.

  • When The Leather is Faux or Artificial

While using saddle soap on your faux leather goods is not going to harm it, using saddle soap to clean your faux leather is generally not necessary.

This is because most faux leather goods are made from materials that don’t require regular cleaning and care the way real leather does.

Additionally, many faux leather products are coated with a layer of polyurethane or other sealants that makes them resistant to dirt, water, and other elements.

So unless your faux leather goods are looking particularly dirty or stained, there’s no need to use saddle soap or any other cleaning products on them.

A simple dusting with a soft cloth should be enough to keep your faux leather looking its best.

How To Use Saddle Soap On Leather

As you can see, there are a few instances where saddle soap should not be used on leather. However, when used correctly, saddle soap can be an excellent way to clean, condition, and protect your leather goods. Below is a step by step guide on how to use saddle soap on leather:

Step 1: Choose The Right Saddle Soap

  • There are a variety of saddle soaps on the market. It’s important to choose a good brand of saddle soap.
  • You can usually find these at your local grocery store, hardware store, or online.

Step 2: Test The Saddle Soap First

  • Before using saddle soap on your leather goods, it’s always a good idea to test it first.
  • This will help to ensure that the saddle soap doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration to your leather.
  • You can do the test on an inconspicuous part of the leather or a similar leather material you intend to use the saddle soap on.
  • To test the saddle soap, simply apply a small amount to a hidden area of the leather and wait 24 hours to see how it reacts.
  • If there’s no damage or discoloration after 24 hours, you can proceed with using the saddle soap on the rest of your leather goods.

Step 3: Apply The Saddle Soap

  • Once you’ve determined that the saddle soap is safe to use on your leather, it’s time to apply it.
  • Start by gently wetting a clean cloth or soft-bristled brush with warm water.
  • Then, add a small amount of saddle soap to the cloth or brush and rub it into the leather in circular motions.
  • Be sure to work the saddle soap into all the cracks and crevices of the leather.

Step 4: Wipe The Leather

  • After you’ve worked the saddle soap into the leather, it’s time to wipe it off.
  • You can do this by simply wiping the leather down with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Be sure to remove all the soap suds from the leather.

Step 5: Allow The Leather To Dry

  • Once you’ve removed all the soap suds, allow the leather to air dry for about 24 hours.
  • Do not use a hairdryer or other heating element to speed up the drying process as this can damage the leather.
  • If you’re in a hurry, you can place the leather goods in a well-ventilated area until they’re completely dry.

Step 6: Conditioner Your Leather

  • After the leather has had time to dry, you can apply a leather conditioner.
  • This will help to keep the leather soft, supple, and looking its best.
  • Conditioning your leather is an optional step, but I highly recommend it.
  • To condition your leather, simply apply a small amount of conditioner to a clean cloth and rub it into the leather in circular motions.
  • Allow the conditioner to soak into the leather for about 10-20 minutes before wiping it off with a clean, damp cloth.
  • And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to use saddle soap on leather.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that saddle soap is a versatile and effective tool for cleaning and maintaining your leather goods.

So, the next time you’re not sure what to use to clean your leather goods, reach for the saddle soap and give it a try. You may be surprised at how well it works.

Also, be sure to use it regularly to keep your leather in top condition. A little saddle soap goes a long way, so you don’t need to use too much of it or too frequently.

Just use it when it’s necessary and you’ll be sure to prolong the life of your beloved leather goods. Thanks for reading!


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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